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Linus crushes Change.org petition, threatens to poison coffee – just an ordinary week

Lucy Carey
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Notoriously cranky Linux pioneer Linus Torvalds has had an active week, going on not one, but two high profile online attacks.

It’s a good thing he’s
got a cute and cuddly little penguin to soften his branding,
because Linus Torvalds is certainly not going to be winning any Mr
Congeniality prizes. Torvald shocked absolutely nobody yesterday
when he reared out of his foxhole to slam a petition by Kyle Condon
calling for his open-source kernel to spurn the Intel processor
instruction RdRand for generating random numbers.

Known for his pioneering work on the
Linux
kernel
, Torvalds is almost equally notorious for
his angry outbursts.

Condon’s worries over the security of
RdRand appear to have stemmed from the  latest disclosures by
Edward Snowden, which have many conspiracists believing that the
RdRand instruction in Intel processors has been compromised by the
NSA and GCHQ. The petition was started on 9 September, and by the
time
Torvalds responded it
had attracted a hardly-threatening five
signatures.

Not content with dismissing the Change.org
activists as “ignorant”,

Torvald then went on to write
, “Where do I
start a petition to raise the IQ and kernel knowledge of people?
Guys, go read

drivers/char/random.c
. Then, learn about
cryptography. Finally, come back here and admit to the world that
you were wrong…Short answer: we actually know what we are doing.
You don’t.”

Having put the RdRand naysayers in their place,
the same week, the rampaging Finnish-American  then hit-up the
Linux kernel mailing list, where he turned his ever charming
thoughts to how ARM systems-on-a-chip (SoC) need to be handled
under Linux 3.12.

Torvald wrote
, “I still really despise the
absolute incredible sh*t that is non-discoverable buses, and I hope
that ARM SoC hardware designers all die in some incredibly painful
accident.”

Just in case anyone hadn’t quite got the point,
he then told the long-suffering Linux community, “if you see any,
send them my love, and possibly puncture the brake-lines on their
car and put a little surprise in their coffee, ok?”

After 22 years of success with Linux, Torvalds revels in
his right to unabashedly scorn any attempts at walking the HR line.
He holds the belief that, “On the internet, nobody can hear you
being subtle”, making the point that, after two decades in his
business, he wouldn’t be doing things the way he does if he didn’t
have the utmost conviction – including the opinion that being
‘respectful’ and ‘polite’ is “
just
so much crap and bullshit.”
It’s certainly not an
approach that works for everyone – but with his twenty year track
record, short of a series of visits from some festive spirits, it
seems unlikely that Torvalds will be diluting his venom
now.

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